Welcome April & Spring Time!
April is the first full month of spring and the earth is definitely putting on a show. The trees are putting out new leaves. Flowers are beginning to bloom. The grass is greening up and there is an overall sense of renewal. Understandably, April is also the month we celebrate Earth Day. Now, admittedly, I have never been huge on celebrating Earth Day, but this seems like a really good time to shed a little light on the unglamorous side of the fashion industry and talk a bit about sustainability.
Sustainability in fashion refers to the concept of creating clothing and accessories in a way that reduces the negative impact on the environment and society. This includes reducing waste, using sustainable materials, and implementing ethical labor practices. Sustainability can also mean building and maintaining a wardrobe in a responsible way
The fashion industry is one of the largest contributors to environmental pollution and resource depletion. It is responsible for a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and waste production. The industry also has a history of exploiting labor in developing countries, often paying workers low wages and subjecting them to poor working conditions.
To address these issues, sustainable fashion aims to create clothing that is produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. This includes using materials that have a low environmental impact, such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, and biodegradable materials. It also involves implementing sustainable production practices, such as using renewable energy, reducing water usage, and minimizing waste.
In addition to reducing the environmental impact of fashion, sustainable fashion also prioritizes ethical labor practices. This means ensuring that workers are paid fair wages, have safe working conditions, and are not subjected to exploitative practices such as forced labor or child labor.
As an image consultant, I know I play a crucial role in educating my clients about the toll the fashion industry is taking on the environment. I do this by using as much of what they already own as possible, coupled with my creativity, to create new looks and ways to wear their wardrobe pieces. We fill in where needed to round out their closet and build a wardrobe that works. My goal is to help my clients stop the endless buying cycle and buy “smart.” This is accomplished by educating them about the colors, shapes and styles of garments that look best on them and promote the image they are striving to put forth.
When shopping, I never overlook second-hand - whether it be thrift or consignment. Many of the most attention getting and statement making items in my wardrobe were purchased secondhand. It seems a lot of consumers overlook the possibilities and treasures to be found in the secondhand market. Oftentimes, there are pieces there that can be creatively incorporated into a wardrobe to engineer looks that are different and will set you apart. And rarely will you find someone wearing the same outfit as you when you are wearing secondhand!
Other ideas for practicing sustainability as a fashion consumer are:
Holding a clothing swap with friends to trade things that are still in good condition but that you are tired of wearing
Having older items redesigned by a seamstress to create a more modern, on-trend garment
Researching and committing to only buying from ethical, sustainable brands
Overall, sustainability in fashion is an important movement that aims to address the negative impacts of the industry on the environment and society. It promotes responsible and conscious consumption, encouraging consumers to consider the environmental and social impact of their clothing purchases.
What can you do to increase your awareness of the damage the fashion industry is doing to the environment and what can you to make small improvements in your own world?
Until next time…